The Yomiuri Shimbun KRASNAYA POLYANA—Noriaki Kasai was in striking distance of a medal after the first round. Instead he struck out.
Kasai, aiming to become Japan’s first medalist at the Sochi Games as he begins his record seventh Olympics, finished eighth in the men’s normal hill ski jumping event on Sunday.
The 41-year-old Kasai scored 255.2 points on jumps of 101.5 and 100 meters. Reruhi Shimizu was 18th with 246.4 points, while Yuta Watase was 21st with 243.0 and Taku Takeuchi 24th with 239.4.
Poland’s Kamil Stoch won the gold with 278.0 points.
“I wanted to become the first Japanese medalist to give a momentum to the Japanese delegation, so it’s a little disappointing,” Kasai, who is serving as Japan captain in Sochi, said wryly.
Kasai was in eighth place after the first round of jumps, but was only 3.6 points out of third place—an amount equivalent to about two meters in distance. “It was a pretty good jump,” he said.
With a medal in reach, Kasai got overly eager, and it cost him.
“The timing [on the takeoff] was about a meter too late,” Kasai said.
Kasai’s second jump was not bad distance-wise, but produced a score that was only the 15th-best in the field. “I put a little too much into it,” said a frustrated Kasai.
Kasai will get his next chance at an elusive individual medal in the large hill ski event Saturday.